Artists have long painted outdoors, but in the mid-19th century, working in natural light became particularly important to the Barbizon school, Hudson River School, and Impressionists. The act of outdoor painting from observation has been continually popular well into the 21st century.
In 1830, the Barbizon School in France, inspired by John Constable, enabled artists like Charles-François Daubigny and Théodore Rousseau to more accurately depict the appearance of outdoor settings in various light and weather conditions. In the late 1800s, the en plein air approach was incorporated with the impressionists’ style, and artists such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frédéric Bazille, and Edgar Degas began creating their work outdoors. From France, the movement expanded to America, starting in California then moving to other American locales notable for their natural light qualities, including the Hudson River Valley in New York. The tradition continues to this day.
Belvidere Heritage, the new 501(C)(3) non-profit charitable organization responsible for planning Victorian Days this year, is hosting a Plein Air Art Contest and Wet Paint Sale. Both amateur and seasoned artists are welcome to participate. Age Groups include 1-10 years, 11-19 years, and 20-120 years.
Artists will meet at Garret D. Wall Park on Saturday, September 8 at 9 a.m. or later to have their canvas/paper stamped. Registration is $25 for 2 canvases, $10 for each additional canvas. Purchasing tickets online will help the organization prepare for the art display.
Once stamped, the artists will find the scene or subject in Belvidere that calls to their soul, and create their masterpiece. Artists will then return to the Park on Sunday, September 9, no later than 1 p.m. to have their work judged by Artist Jeff Echevarria and Conservator Gary McGowan. Cash prizes will be awarded.
The Wet Paint Sale - a sale of the paintings that were just created the day before - begins at 2 p.m. You may purchase a ticket to join the fun by clicking this link. Individuals and businesses wishing to learn more about Victorian Days may visit the Belvidere Heritage’s website at www.belvidereheritage.com.